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She was going to talk to that girl, if she wanted or not. Saya didn’t
really know why she wanted to talk to her that badly, but she felt had
strong feelings in this matter. When Laiva had stormed out of the
common room the day before, Saya wanted to run after her, but the
doctor had told her not to and later Laiva had already gone to bed. By
the time she had got up, however, Laiva had already finished breakfast
and gone outside. At least her tracks were clearly visible in the
snow, although that didn’t mean following her was; not if it was knee
deep so you literally had to wade through it.
Saya was not going to give up, though. Not that it hadn’t
crossed her mind, but she hadn’t forced herself forward for half half
an hour to give up now; Laiva had to be here somewhere. Before she
came into sight, however, Saya heard her laughter. At first she
couldn’t believe that it was really Laiva. This wasn’t the laughter of
the girl she had met, but the laughter of a little child, easy, light
hearted, unspoiled and unaware of the cruelties of the world. And yet
it was her, looking exactly the way she sounded. She was romping in
the snow and play fighting with… with a wolf. She seemed to remember
that there had been a wolf, that night, hadn’t there? At that moment,
however, Laiva stopped in her play and looked directly at Saya, giving
her a bright, almost mischievous smile; Laiva had known she was here
‘Hello. Saya, was it not?’
Saya nodded. A snowball hit her directly in the face.
‘Come and get me.’
Laiva and Saya were on their way back to the village; a little tired
and with the clothes more white than anything else, but at peace with
the world and, more importantly, themselves.
‘Must be great to have a wolf as pet.’ Saya said, looking at
Mynor, who was fighting his way through the snow next to them.
Laiva shook her head.
‘Mynor is not a pet… and definitely not mine…’
Saya gave her a questioning look.
‘It is a bit difficult… and lengthy…’
There was a pause until Saya came to a decision.
‘If I tell you my story – will you tell me your’s?’
Laiva hesitated a moment, but then nodded.
‘I am from at the coast, you know, about two weeks from here. I’ve
been here a couple of times with my parents, though. In fact the
doctor is the daughter of an aunt of a cousin of my father’s or
something like that. Anyway, I am from the coast. Have you ever been
to the coast forests? The mighty trees standing almost touching the
ocean? No, you would not… but you have to. You have to come with me
and see it; it is fantastic, the most beautiful place there is. There
is nothing like watching the waves rolling towards the shore, tasting
the salty water while you are sitting below the trees, hearing its
voices… and then… and then they were suddenly there. Pirates…
I… I tried to run away, but… but somehow they had already
At this point Saya was almost screaming. Laiva did the only
thing that came to her mind and wordlessly hugged her. Even through
the thick coats she could feel Saya shiver, not for cold, but for
shock. Elves were aware of their surroundings; all the time, even in
sleep. An outsider sneaking up on her was so unthinkable, so
incredible, so horrifying…
‘I… I do not know how this could happen… I… must have
been completely lost in thoughts…’
‘You do not have to apologize, it is all right…’
Once again Laiva felt stupid for saying that, and this time it
didn’t seem to help either. Saya finally couldn’t hold her tears back
anymore and had started crying.
‘And… and then… I will never be able to forget the
‘The slave market…’
Talk stopped the second the two girls entered the community room, with
red heads, white clothes and accompanied by what had to be a wolf.
This time, however, Laiva didn’t mind and neither did Saya. They
quickly put down their coats and joined the doctor at her table.
‘Not too late for dinner, are we?’ Saya asked.
The doctor just kept looking at them, as if trying to figure
out who the two girls standing in front of her were and what they had
done to Laiva and Saya.
‘It us, your patients.’ Laiva added with a grin.
‘Oh… yes… where were we?’
‘I asked if we are late for dinner.’ Saya said.
‘Oh no, no you are just in time… it is just… you seem
so… never mind.’
‘So never mind?’ Laiva just had to ask.
‘Ah, here comes dinner…’
Indeed in this very moment they were being served three bowls
of stew. It did not look like much; in fact it rather looked like the
worst kind of grayish pulp imaginable, but the smell alone made up for
that. Laiva, however, wasn’t that easily distracted.
‘So what?’ she insisted.
‘Can we talk about something else?’
‘No, we want to know.’ Saya joined in.
‘Happy… Yes, I know… I mean there is no reason you should
not be or anything… I… It’s just not what I expected…’
For a second the doctor thought she had blown it, but the
girls didn’t even think of getting into a depressive mood and instead
grinned at her.
‘Sorry to disappoint you. Now, let’s close our eyes and eat.’
Laiva interrupted her thoughts.
‘Close our eyes?’ Saya asked bewildered.
‘Have you looked at the stuff?’